Business news in brief
In the Region
Drug firms expand collaboration
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
announced that they were expanding their collaboration to include the development and commercialization of a diabetes drug in Japan. Dapagliflozin, which regulates the reabsorption of glucose in the kidney, is one of two investigational drugs under joint development by the companies. It is in Phase III clinical trials in several countries, including the United States, as a once-daily treatment for Type 2 diabetes. It is in Phase II clinical trials in Japan. London-based AstraZeneca, which has U.S. operations near Wilmington, and Bristol-Myers, with headquarters in New York and operations around Princeton, had announced in January 2007 that they would collaborate on two new diabetes compounds. -
C&D Tech posts quarterly profit
reported third-quarter net income of $964,000 or 2 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $9.3 million or 36 cents a share in the comparable quarter a year ago. The Blue Bell firm, which makes industrial batteries, electronic power controllers, and backup power systems, said the results for the quarter ended Oct. 31 reflected 3 cents a share in charges related to the value of the dollar against foreign currencies and 1 cent per share for fees associated with the company's bank agreement. Results in the prior year's third quarter included a loss of $2.3 million (9 cents a share)
from discontinued operations. Third- quarter revenue was $93.8 million, up 3 percent over $91.3 million last year, credited by pricing and estimated volume growth.
- Roslyn Rudolph
Brewer to cut 1,400 U.S. jobs
announced it would cut 1,400 U.S. jobs - or an additional 6 percent of its U.S. workforce - to help save the brewer at least $1.5 billion a year. It said three-quarters of the jobs to disappear would go from Anheuser's North American headquarters in St. Louis. The job cuts go beyond plans Anheuser-Busch announced this summer to streamline costs, before it agreed to be taken over by Belgium-based InBev. The company said the job losses would help it save at least $1.5 billion a year by 2011 and cope with a "challenging economy." Most of the cuts will be made by the end of the year.
SEC: Keep accounting rules neutral
The government's top securities regulator said accounting rules shouldn't be bent inappropriately as an allowance in a financial crisis, but indicated that constructive revisions could be made. Accounting rules must be neutral and "not just another financial rudder to be pulled" in times of economic distress, said
Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox
. The banking industry has pressed the SEC to suspend "mark-to-market" rules. They require banks to value the assets on their balance sheets at current market prices, even if they plan to hold them for years. Cox's remarks to an accounting-industry audience signaled that the agency was unlikely to suspend the rules, but Cox said refinements appeared to be
SAT firm settles student-loan probe
New York officials say the national association that writes and administers the SAT has resolved a two-state investigation into deceptive marketing of student loans. Officials say the
gave inappropriate discounts to colleges that promoted its services, effectively directing students to loans that were not their best or least-expensive options. The not-for-profit settled with New York and Connecticut and will invest $675,000 to help students find the lowest- cost loan options. A spokesman says the College Board is pleased with the settlement.
AIG expands controversial perks list
American International Group Inc.
, the insurer whose bonuses and perks are under fire from federal lawmakers, expanded a retention program to an additional 38 executives that would award as much as $4 million apiece. The retention payments range from $92,500 to $4 million for employees earning salaries between $160,000 and $1 million, chief executive officer Edward Liddy said in a letter dated Dec. 5 to Rep. Elijah Cummings (D., Md.). The original list had 130 names, and the biggest payment disclosed was $3 million. AIG, which received a federal rescue package of more than $152 billion, has been criticized for saying it would eliminate bonuses for senior executives, while still planning to hand out "cash awards" that double or triple the salaries of some managers. The payments are designed to keep top employees at AIG while Liddy seeks to sell units and pay back the federal government, which owns 79.9 percent of AIG.
- Bloomberg News
EU to ban sale of incandescent bulbs
decided to ban the sale of traditional light bulbs by September 2012 to reduce electricity consumption and protect the environment, threatening retail-cost increases for consumers. Incandescent bulbs use five times more electricity than energy-saving bulbs, including compact fluorescent lamps, which cost more in stores but lower consumption bills. The phase-out, starting next September with the brightest incandescent bulbs, stems from a law that allows the European Commission to set ecological performance standards for consumer goods.
- Bloomberg News
Short-term T-bill rates hit new lows
Investors hungry for safety are pouring money into Treasury securities, driving down rates on short-term bills to record lows. The
auctioned $27 billion worth of three-month Treasury bills yesterday, fetching a discount rate of 0.005 percent, a new record low. That surpassed the old record low of 0.050 percent set last week. Another $27 billion in six-month bills was auctioned at a discount rate of 0.300 percent, an all-time low. That beat out the old record low of 0.430 percent also reached last week. The discount rates reflect that the bills sell for less than face value. For a $10,000 bill, the three-month price was $9,999.87, while a six-month bill sold for $9,984.83.
Yield drops for ARMs-linked T-bill
reported yesterday that the average yield for one-year Treasury bills, a popular index for making changes in adjustable-rate mortgages, dropped to 0.69 percent last week, from 0.93 percent the previous week.